South Padre Island TEXAS PELAGIC July 25, 2009

Aboard   the Osprey II

Subject: South Padre Island Texas Pelagic Trip Report, July 25, 2009

Date:   Sun, 26 Jul 2009 15:28:57 -0400

From:   Mary Gustafson

The first South Padre Island pelagic of the summer was a success! Our first signs  of pelagic life was a pod of Atlantic Spotted Dolphins that came in to  bow-ride. We stopped by two shrimp boats on the way out and enjoyed good views of two Magnificent Frigatebirds, hosts of Royal and Sandwich Terns, and   Bottlenose Dolphin. Most of the morning involved brief frustrating looks at distant birds including a brief appearance by Cory’s Shearwater and   Band-rumped Storm-Petrel, and a Bridled Tern on a board that immediately decided to head for the horizon.

The afternoon started off with prolonged looks at Band-rumped Storm-Petrels that came in to check out the fish oil we were dripping behind the boat. This was   a great show, and the photos should be amazing! The oil serves as a scent lure for tubenoses like the Band-rumped Storm-Petrel, attracting these birds   to the boat. Two nearby Cory’s Shearwaters put on a good show, both sitting on the water and in flight. Another pod of Atlantic Spotted Dolphins showed off their aerial skills leaping into the air and surfing at the bow and   stern.

The avian highlight of the day came in the form of a Leach’s Storm-Petrel that we flushed off the water. Initially giving brief but tantalizing views, we circled the boat and relocated the bird and were able to study and photograph the Leach’s over several minutes. The longer wings, more erratic flight,  divided and ‘muddier’ rump, and forked tail were all seen in the field and   documented in photographs. The captain did a great job following this small bird, and Eric had the oil drip running just in case or we would have been   left with a ‘possible’ instead of a definite and photo-documented bird. We scanned through flocks and flocks of Black Terns back at the inlet, and were escorted back to the dock by Scarlet Colley and her dolphin friends.

Sea conditions were reasonable all day. The sun was intense, and the spray was   moderate. It was great fun to be back on the deep salt water. At our most  distant point we were 52 miles offshore. Thanks to the South Padre Island World Birding Center for organizing an excellent trip, the leaders for their hard work, and the participants for making it all possible! The next trips are August 29 and September 19. Register soon so you don’t miss out!

For more information see   Another trip will be November 19.

Mary Gustafson

Mission, Texas


Band-rumped Storm-Petrels

Leach’s Storm-Petrel

Magnificent Frigatebirds

Cory’s Shearwaters


Marine Mammals:

Atlantic Spotted Dolphins

Link to Photo Gallery: All photography copyrighted ©Garett Hodne 2009

or by other contributors as noted.


View 2007 – 2009 Texas Pelagics Tracks in a larger map

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Click on each Pelagic Course and the data label will appear with the date of the trip.



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